What’s your businesses’ policy on alcohol and drugs? Do you have a drug and alcohol policy that robustly lays out your plans and guidelines, or is your approach more casual or, even, open slather?
The need for nearly every Australian business to have a drug and alcohol policy can’t be underestimated. Without one, you’re putting your business at legal, moral and financial risk, particularly if one of your employees has an accident where alcohol or drugs was involved.
What could happen?
Let’s say, for example, that you have a monthly social event for employees. You pay for all the drinks, which is almost entirely alcohol, and the fluid flows freely for a couple of hours before everyone heads off. However, after one event an employee over 0.05 blood alcohol hops in his car and has a significant accident, causing severe injuries. The employee will live, but will never fully recover.
Is your business liable for the accident. Could you need to compensate the employee or pay for his medical fees for the remainder of his life? Or worse?
While the details in every state can differ, there are OH&S laws designed to ensure the health and safety of employees and others in the workplace, or even outside the workplace at, for example, a social function. The laws request employers, as much as possible, to provide and maintain a safe and healthy work environment.
So, would you be facing consequences in an incident like the above? A key determination will be your alcohol and drugs policy (if you have one), how detailed it is and whether you followed it.
For example, do you educate employees on the dangers of alcohol and drugs? When you have your monthly social functions, do you provide non-alcoholic drinks and food, do you provide alternate transport, designated drivers, or encourage employees to use public transport if available?
Similarly, for a workplace accident involving alcohol or drugs, your level of responsibility can depend on your management of alcohol and drugs. Do you regularly educate employee and inform them of your alcohol and drugs policy? Do you provide assistance for employees with alcohol or drug issues? Do you conduct alcohol and drug testing, etc.?
Alcohol and drug policy
Your businesses’ alcohol and drug policy should be detailed and robust. Depending on your industry – particularly whether it’s safety focused – and your specific circumstances, some important inclusions are:
- What are your responsibilities, as an employer.
- What are the responsibilities of your employees.
- Education that you provide everyone.
- Support you will provide people with drug or alcohol issues.
- The steps you’ll take if an employee is suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- State whether you will conduct alcohol and/or drug testing
- If you do conduct testing, provide full details of the testing to be carried out.
- Consequences of a positive test, or refusal to take a test.
We can help
Integrity Sampling can help you develop your workplace drug and alcohol policy. We can help with all aspects of policy and procedure development and, in addition, assist with education of employees. Of course, we also can conduct drug and alcohol testing in your workplace.
Give Integrity Sampling a call on 1300 725 482 today to discuss your needs.
Protect your business from the scourge of alcohol and drugs with an alcohol and drugs policy. Credit Rick Hyne https://unsplash.com/photos/cqNgo3sQ_24